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  1. Blog
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  3. Last updated April 17, 2024

15 Good Character Traits Hiring Managers Love

You’re more than your resume

Woman laughing while leaning on a balcony showing off her good character traits
Photo courtesy of Sincerely Media

Setting yourself apart is a must in today’s job market. While experience and technical skills are, of course, important to landing a job, you also need to think about how you’re selling yourself as a contributor to a better workplace.

One CareerBuilder survey showed that 63 percent of employers prioritize a candidate’s soft skills, not just technical skills. This is where character traits come in. Soft skills help you relate to other people, improve workflows, stay motivated, and cultivate a positive, professional environment. 

Here is a list of 15 of the most important character traits for work and how to showcase them when you’re job searching and interviewing. 

The importance of character traits in the workplace

Beyond technical skills and job qualifications, possessing positive character traits and soft skills is essential for thriving in a dynamic and collaborative work environment. These traits not only impact individual job performance but also influence teamwork, leadership effectiveness, and overall company culture.

Character traits such as integrity, diligence, and accountability are closely linked to job performance. Employees who demonstrate integrity consistently uphold ethical standards and principles, earning the trust and respect of colleagues, supervisors, and clients. Diligence and attention to detail ensure that tasks are completed accurately and efficiently, while accountability fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility, leading to increased reliability and follow-through on commitments.

Character traits such as communication, empathy, and cooperation are essential for building strong interpersonal relationships and collaborating effectively with colleagues. Clear and open communication promotes transparency, reducing conflicts and misunderstandings within teams. 

Leaders who lead by example and demonstrate integrity in their actions earn the trust and loyalty of their team, fostering a culture of trust and accountability. Empathetic leaders understand the needs and concerns of their team members, providing support and guidance to help them succeed. They empower their teams, encourage collaboration, and recognize and celebrate achievements.

Read more: 130 Adjectives to Describe Yourself In the Workplace

15 character traits hiring managers love

1. Collaborative

Employers want to hire people who work well with others. And not just that—they want people who can build successful relationships and collaborate effectively, contributing to a strong company culture. Focus on how you prioritize and approach teamwork. Include past group projects you completed on your resume and cover letter. Highlight why you think it’s so important to create solid work relationships. 

You could say something like this:

"As a collaborative team player, I value the input and contributions of my colleagues and strive to create an environment where everyone feels empowered to share their ideas. For instance, during weekly team meetings, I encouraged open brainstorming sessions to create a culture of collaborative creativity. By working towards a common goal, we were able to leverage each other's strengths to overcome challenges and deliver high-quality outcomes."

Read more: Collaborate Better in 5 Proven Steps

2. Respectful 

While many companies encourage their employees to express themselves, they also expect them to be respectful and professional. One survey found that 71 percent of employers wouldn’t hire someone who doesn’t follow the appropriate dress code and most of them (81 percent) think that a candidate badmouthing a past employer doesn’t look good.

In an interview, you can highlight this trait by saying something like:

"Respect is at the core of my approach to teamwork. I worked on a project with a team of varying backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Throughout the project, I made a conscious effort to create an environment where everyone felt valued and respected for their unique contributions. During status meetings, I actively solicited input from quieter team members and acknowledging and validating their ideas."

3. Flexible

Staying adaptable has perhaps never been as important as it is now. Offices around the globe shifted to remote work during the pandemic, meaning people had completely different work routines. Emphasize that you have a flexible mindset and can respond well to change. Talk about changes you’ve gone through professionally and how you adapted or grew because of them.

For example, you could say:

"In my last role, I managed multiple projects simultaneously, each with its own set of deadlines and priorities. Despite the inherent challenges of juggling competing demands, I approached each project with a flexible mindset. For example, when unexpected changes arose, such as shifting project timelines or resource constraints, I remained adaptable and resourceful, identifying creative solutions to keep projects on track."

4. Compassionate

Compassion and empathy are buzzwords in offices these days, as companies have taken a deeper look at mental health and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Studies have shown that compassionate workplaces tend to lead to less stress for employees and more job satisfaction. This is a great term to include on your resume or in your cover letter, and it’s a must if you will be working directly with clients or customers. 

Showcase your compassion with an example like:

"A few years ago, a close colleague of mine was experiencing personal difficulties outside of work. Recognizing the impact it was having on their wellbeing and performance, I took the initiative to reach out and offer support. In addition to being a listening ear, I helped lighten their workload and provided resources for additional support."

Read more: What Message to Write to a Hiring Manager

5. Confident

Self-assuredness can get you a long way in the professional realm. Interviewers want to interact with candidates who are well-spoken and secure (even if it’s not always how you’re feeling internally). In the workplace, managers want to be able to depend on someone to handle things on their own and use their good judgment. Just be careful not to overdo the confidence: 76 percent of employers don’t want to hire someone who comes off as arrogant.

Without displaying arrogance, you can talk about your confidence by saying something along the lines of:

"I led a high-stakes project that required me to navigate complex stakeholder relationships and make strategic decisions under pressure. Despite the inherent uncertainties and risks involved, I drew on my expertise to guide my decision-making process. I communicated my ideas and recommendations confidently, instilling confidence in my team and stakeholders and ultimately driving the project forward."

6. Communication

There are very few jobs that require zero communication with someone else, whether clients, bosses, or coworkers. Emphasize that you can communicate well no matter the format, and talk about your experience with public speaking and writing. When the entire workplace communicates well, company culture is more positive and work gets done more efficiently. 

You can say this in your interview:

"In my last position, I was responsible for liaising between our sales team and the marketing department to ensure alignment on campaign strategies and messaging. Through clear and concise communication, I was able to convey the goals of each team and provide feedback on campaign performance. By fostering open dialogue, I helped streamline communication channels, resulting in improved campaign effectiveness and increased sales revenue."

7. Creative

Creativity is a great trait to have, even if you don’t work in a highly creative field. Creative thinkers aren’t afraid to ask questions and dig deep to solve an issue or propose something new. Think of experiences you’ve had that have forced you to flex that muscle. Highlight your willingness to think outside the box on a regular basis.

An example could include:

"I had to develop a new marketing campaign to promote our company's latest product launch. I brainstormed innovative ideas and concepts that would resonate with our target audience and differentiate us from competitors. By thinking outside the box and embracing unconventional strategies, I was able to create a memorable campaign that exceeded our expectations in terms of reach and engagement."

Read more: The 6 Thought Processes & How to Maximize Them

8. Integrity

Another trait to focus on is integrity. Companies want people they can count on, and not just to get work completed. They want to trust you to make the right decision. They want you to represent their brand well, both inside and outside work. Aside from showing professionalism and being considerate in your digital communications and interviews, talk about why integrity is so important to you and how you maintain that mindset.

For example, you can say:

"In my current role, I deal with sensitive financial data and confidential information. I'm constantly ensuring all data is handled securely and ethically. I've proactively reported potential discrepancies or irregularities, demonstrating my commitment to transparency and accountability. By upholding integrity in my work, I've earned the trust and confidence of my colleagues, supervisors, and clients."

9. Autonomous

Working independently can be a great focus on your resume and cover letter. Highlighting that you work well on your own shows the hiring manager that they don’t have to hold your hand through projects or decisions, and that you are organized and focused. These are important characteristics since sometimes it might just be you and your computer.

Demonstrate your autonomy with an example like:

"Autonomy is a strength that allows me to thrive in roles where independent decision-making is valued. At my previous company, I was given the freedom to manage my own workload. I demonstrated the ability to work effectively with minimal supervision, taking ownership of projects from start to finish and delivering results in a timely manner."

10. Attentive

If you fail to cater your resume or cover letter to a specific job, or don’t do much research about the company before an interview, it can look like you are inconsiderate or careless. Instead, show that you are attentive, interested, detail-oriented, and observant. Talk about specific details of the job and/or company and why they matter to you.

You can say:

"I excel in being attentive to detail, which is evident in my track record of catching errors and inconsistencies in documents and reports. In my previous role, my attention to detail resulted in a 15% reduction in errors on client deliverables, contributing to improved accuracy and client satisfaction. "

11. Takes initiative

Initiative is another important keyword to include on your application documents. A CNN survey found that initiative was in the top 10 reasons employers want to hire someone. Bosses want to see that you don’t wait around for instructions and can take things into your own hands (reasonably, of course). Talk about how you are always looking for solutions, staying proactive, and being prepared. In interviews, show that you’re not afraid to voice your ideas.

For example:

"I identified a gap in our customer service processes and proposed a new approach that resulted in a 20% reduction in response times. By taking proactive steps to address challenges and drive improvements, I demonstrated my commitment to driving results and contributing to the success of the team."

Read more: Better Conversations: 8 Experts Answer ’How Do I Voice a Contradictory Opinion at Work?’

12. Conscientious

Being conscientious means you can combine integrity with close attention to detail. You are interested in doing things right the first time and not cutting corners. And you take into account how your words and actions impact others. Talk about your diligence and efficiency in your cover letter.

In interviews, talk about how you completed a project or professional goal in the past by taking the obligation seriously. Say something like:

"I managed a critical project to streamline our internal communication processes. I approached it with a conscientious mindset, meticulously planning each phase of the project and ensuring that all stakeholders were informed throughout, and I successfully delivered the project ahead of schedule and within budget."

13. Calm

While energy can be a big plus at work, and you always want to emphasize your enthusiasm for a job or company, don’t be afraid to talk about calmness. Managers love hearing that someone can keep their cool in a crisis. 

In an interview, you could say:

"During a particularly hectic period in my previous role, our team faced a sudden influx of urgent client requests due to a system outage. Despite the pressure and tight deadlines, I remained calm and composed, quickly assessing the situation and delegating tasks to team members based on their strengths. By prioritizing tasks effectively, we were able to minimize the impact on service delivery."

14. Curious

Employers place a lot of value on workers who want to keep learning. Sometimes your resume will speak for itself if you have multiple degrees, have traveled a lot, or have held jobs in several different industries. But, even if you don’t have this experience to show, talk about your thirst for knowledge and growth, which can contribute to a well-rounded workplace, full of individuals who are ready for whatever’s next.

For example, say something like this in an interview:

"I consider myself naturally curious, always eager to learn and explore new ideas and concepts. I continuously attend industry conferences and workshops to stay abreast of emerging trends and seek out opportunities for growth and development."

15. Resourceful

Finally, make sure you talk about the way you solve problems. Show hiring managers more than just “problem-solver” on your resume and cover letter. Talk about how you can use whatever resources are available to get things done. You’re open-minded and can identify other people’s strengths, always connecting them to your own. 

Try saying something like this:

"When faced with a budget constraint for a marketing campaign, I researched and identified cost-effective alternatives without compromising quality. By leveraging existing resources and thinking creatively, I was able to execute the campaign successfully within the budget constraints, demonstrating my ability to adapt and find solutions even in challenging situations."

Read more: 40 "Fun Facts About Me" for Networking

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